Officially known as the Republic of Sierra Leone, Sierra Leone is a country in West Africa. The nation has an area of about 27,699 square miles. About 1.1% of this area is covered by water. As of 2015, Sierra Leone had a population of about seven million people who are dependent on the country’s natural resources. These resources are also responsible for part of the economy, which, as of 2018, stood at about $12.177 billion. Some of the major natural resources in the country include mineral resources, land for agricultural production, and tourist attractions.
Mining is one of the most important sectors in Sierra Leone. To show just how important the sector is, it accounted for around 79% of the total exports from the country in 2007. Of the total exports in the same year, diamonds alone accounted for about 46% of the total export revenue. Data shows that the mining industry contributed to about 4.5 of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2008. Aside from diamonds, other minerals mined include gold, bauxite, rutile, limonite, and iron.
Just like mining above, agriculture is also a significant sector to the economy with the sector contributing about 58% to the nation’s GDP in 2007. In addition, about 2/3 of the population is actively involved in some type of agriculture. This portion of the population makes agriculture the largest source of employment to the people of Sierra Leone. However, Sierra Leone still relies heavily on imported foods in order to satisfy the need. Some of the foods produced in the nation include cassava, maize, sorghum, groundnuts, cocoa, palm oil, sugarcane, coconuts, and several others.
Water and Solar for Energy Production
Sierra Leone has also invested in the production of hydropower although not that heavily. As of 2012, the nation had only three hydropower plants namely the Guma, Dodo, and Bumbuna plants. Of these three plants, the Bumbuna one is easily the largest with a production of around 50 megawatts. Most of the financial resources used in its development came from the African Development Bank, the World Bank, and an Italian firm. There are plans for opening others along the Sewa, Moa, Little Scarcies, Seli, and the Pampana rivers.
Tourism is a constantly growing sector owing to the natural sandy beaches of Sierra Leone and several tourist attractions. The sector is regulated by the country’s Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs. The International Labor Organization reports that the sector employs at least 8,000 people with the number expected to grow in the future as visitors increase. Aside from the beaches, other natural attractions include nature reserves, islands, and mountains. The Guardian newspaper has once voted one of the beaches, River Number 2 beach, as the best beach in the whole continent.